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                                                              Chapter Two


                                                           "Changing Tides"

 


My coworkers started to stare at me.

“You don't have your story yet?  Have you not had a whole month?” My boss asked incredulously.

“Not exactly,” I replied slowly, watching in awe as the vein on his forehead began to throb. “But, before you explode, I do have a new angle.”

“And what would that be?” he asked skeptically setting down a clipboard he had picked up from one of my co-worker's desks.

My employer's name is Patrick. He is a 6'1'' giant, at least compared to me. I'm not sure what got him interested in writing, but I do know that he worked his way up the business ladder until one day, he got that final promotion: editor and chief of the Daily Prophet. Even just saying those words make me shudder. I could never do what Patrick does. I could never handle the snotty reporters, the hate mail, and the sheer, unbridled horror that just generally comes with the job. But Patrick does it and still manages to be a decent person.

Except when I tell him that I'm totally changing my story and in all truth may not have a column for this week's paper. Then, everything just goes to hell.

The Daily Prophet does, obviously, reaches people daily, but my articles are only in it once a month. It takes a lot of planning to be able to write what I write.  Most columnists at the Daily Prophet submit a column every week, but I had been here six years, so that gave me precedence to put something in whenever I felt like. Six years including my first year where I didn't write much.  Being able to brew a great cup of muggle coffee may have jumpstarted my career.  That aside, my story was expected that week.

Could you tell that I had been procrastinating?  The Minister had just shot me down, and it had been my first conversation with him.  Luck wasn’t on my side for that, but that was not the reason I was scared.  Luck comes, and luck goes.

What I was scared of, was the look in Patrick's eyes when I told him that I was going to do my story on George Weasley.

“Let me try and understand,” Patrick sighed as he led me into his office. “You're going to throw away your original idea of the Minister of Magic, which, by the way, was great, and now, head off in the completely different direction of George Weasley? Haven't you interviewed enough of them? Weasleys, I mean.” By the time his rant was over, Patrick had made it into his computer chair and had managed to pull out my personal portfolio. Dread began to creep up my spine.

“Patrick, you're not actually going to-” Patrick cut me off with a dangerous glare, so I simply slumped down into a chair that many a Daily Prophet reporter had sat in. Sitting in Patrick's office was the most painful experiences. If you were in the office, you had obviously done something wrong, and when you did something wrong, there were only two options. You either get fired, or have your entire personal file read out to you. Every detail about yourself, about your previous stories, about everything you are guilty of, reiterated to you by the one person who holds your career in his hands. 

“I don't want to have to do this, Jane,” Patrick breathed, his left hand splayed over the beige folder that held my whole world.

I scooted my chair closer to his desk, trying to make a different atmosphere between the two of us. Mainly because the office weirded me out, but also because I needed stop Patrick from opening my folder. “I haven't done anything wrong, Patrick,” I reminded him while covering his hand with my own.

Yet.

“I know that, but I'm just going to remind myself that no matter what you choose to write about, it always turns out great,” Patrick revealed, and I pulled my hand away quickly, blushing at my blatant attempt of seduction when it had not been needed in the slightest. “You're good at that,” he pointed out nonchalantly and it caught me off guard.

“Good at what?” I asked, feeling weary at what he was about to say. I wasn't used to receiving compliments, especially when they came from my boss. The best any of my coworkers got, as a good job signal was either a noncommittal grunt or a weak smile. I usually received a pat on the head because I think that he liked to remind me of my small stature.

“Controlling people,” Patrick muttered as he opened my file. My mouth dropped open, and I couldn't help but feel offended. He looked up and smirked at my shocked face. “Take it as a compliment, Jane. It's what makes you a good reporter. You know how to get the story, no matter what.”

“When you put it like that,” I muttered feeling less than pleased with myself. I wasn't sure what had taken over me, but my morals had begun to pound away at my brain. I normally would have been fine with Patrick's comment because it was true, but it made me feel uncomfortable. It made me feel like some filthy, devious reporter.

Oh. Damn.

Patrick ignored me, not in the mood for a whiny employee. He flipped through my file, looking for the latest entries. I knew what he would find. My latest articles were on three fairly normal people: Fleur Weasley, Astoria Malfoy, and Rolanda Hooch. I know the last one is a little off, but everyone has a story and it's my job to write those stories down.

“You're one of the best that I have right now, Jane. Looking at these last few articles, it's easy to see why. You showed everyone that Fleur Weasley isn't only a Veela; she's a loving mother and could hand your ass to you at dueling. You also proved that Astoria isn't some bimbo looking for money, but rather a head strong woman battling her way to the top of an empire.” Patrick closed my file and shoved it back into a drawer with the rest of those evil things.

I began to tap my fingers, feeling confident because of my accomplishments. “I'm lost as to why you brought me in here, Patrick. You know your offices makes me...” I trailed off not sure how to finish and not wanting to get Patrick any madder than he already was.

“Can you write his story in two months, Jane? If I recall correctly, the last time you left the Weasley home, it wasn't on good terms.  Last time, you almost missed the deadline.” I sighed, knowing that Patrick was right. The last Weasley I had written about, Ginny, hadn't approved of my coming into their lives, but her mother practically begged her. The disaster was topped off when I was literally thrown from the house by an expelliarmos. Sure, the Weasley's loved my writing, but that didn't mean they had to love me, especially when I asked questions about Fred.

But that's what I do. I ask the questions no one wants to ask, or hear.

“I could use an extra month, sure,” I admitted casually, carefully omitting the fact that George Weasley would probably never talk to me anyway.

“You're in luck then. You'll never guess whose birthday it is this Friday.” The look in his eyes told me that I clearly should be able to guess.

I tilted my head to the right, feeling only a little lost. “It's the minister's birthday, I think. I can't really remember much from that particular interview.” I couldn't help but smirk at Patrick's obvious anger for my disregard of the minister. It wasn't my fault the man was boring. “But what does that have anything to do with the Prophet?”

“The Minister has decided to put on a huge celebration for the whole wizarding world. He claims it's for the few years of peace, but I'm pretty sure it's just for his ego. Due to this, the Prophet won't be printing a Friday paper and this means that you won't have to have anything turned in until Thursday of next week.” It was easy to see that Patrick was frustrated by not being able to print on a regular schedule, so I couldn't help the wide grin that leapt onto my face, but it quickly disappeared as a plan began to develop in my head.

Perhaps I should have been nicer to the Minister. 

“You've got to be kidding me. You're honestly going to stop the press because of the Minister's... Birthday?” I stood up quickly and slammed my hands onto Patrick's desk before he could say anything. “You've sunk pretty low, Mr. Editor-in-Chief, maybe next time I'll slip you some bills under the table when I need an extension.” 

The astounded looked on Patrick's face made my stomach flutter with incredibly wicked butterflies, but I held my smile back and managed to stare him down until he averted his eyes. “See you in a few Thursdays,” I replied pulling out my most disgusted tone. I walked out of his office, and Patrick never saw the crooked smile on my face.

I should have been an actress.

I left the Prophet feeling quite confident, given my situation. I knew it was going to be tough trying to get George Weasley to open up, but after all these years of easy interviews, a challenge may just be what I was in the mood for.


 

I started where I always started, the Hall of Records at the ministry. Of course, I also had it in my mind that catching up with Luna again might not be that unlucky. As a journalist, I was exceptionally adept at inductive reasoning. If I had seen Luna once at the ministry, then I would see her there again. Simple logic, really.

By the time I had flushed myself into the ministry, I could already tell that I would not get a single word written there.  The ministry was in a panic.  I sighed, knowing that I still had to try.  I strode through the main entrance door and found an empty elevator.  I grabbed one of the loops hanging from the ceiling and held on for dear life as I set my mind on the Hall of Records.

It may seem strange as to why I was even trying to write at that particular moment, when the ministry was in panic mode, but there are two easy answers.  One, I had to start writing, I may have struck gold on getting an extra month until my deadline, but, as I stated before, I wasn’t on best of terms with the Weasley’s.  Two, the ministry was always in panic mode.  It seems magical people work best when there are papers flying everywhere, screaming howler’s being opened in every second room and to top it off, the annoying music they keep playing in the back ground.  Supposedly, it creates a better atmosphere.  I beg to differ.

Earplugs are to be my next investment.

The Hall of Records was probably my favorite place to be in the whole wizarding world and believe me; I know how ridiculous that sounds.  There are rarely people in the large room, though, and because of this it makes it easier for me to write.  I can talk to myself as I flip through the pages of the numerous books, sometimes I even cry.

It took me a while to find George’s file even though I had been through the W’s countless times.  I think I was stalling, afraid I would find something else, something that I had never read before like: George Weasley turns into a vampire bat every second Wednesday of the month, or George Weasley sleeps with countless woman to assuage the feelings of missing his other half.

They could be true for all I knew.

Putting pen to paper had always been easy to me, but looking at his file, just sitting there, his brother’s name with a parenthesized deceased beside it, make me think twice.  I couldn’t understand why this was affecting me in such a way, that it was putting my career in jeopardy.  Why was George Weasley so unique?

I had to block my emotions out.  Not all of my emotions, obviously, only the cursed ones that were stopping me from writing.  It needed to be written.  It was practically begging me.  Who was I to deny a story?  After all, I was merely the writer of the story, and it was my job to flesh it out, despite the carrier’s unwillingness.  Even if the carrier was George Weasley.

I made up my mind and covered Fred’s name with another book. That’s when I heard it.  My hand hesitated.  Was someone else in the room with me?

With my luck, I figured it would be the Minister begging for another shot at his interview because, he knew that he messed up, and hurt my feelings, and he’s actually incredibly sorry.

It seemed though that my luck had all run out because when I whirled around on the comfy chair I had summoned, there stood an intensely red, very pissed off George Weasley.

 






 

A/N:  It has been a long time since I've posted anything on HPFF. I'm so sorry!  I have had this done for quite a while, but have never managed to get it up.  The plot is still working itself out and I'm trying to keep up.  I hope you guys like it! 

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